To the Editor:
My Letter to the Editor (The Reston Connection, May 30-Jun 6 edition, Letters, Fraud Issue-Revisited) appears to have contained some inaccurate information. The situations where election officers were informed of actions or changes did take place. Whether the recipients did not clearly hear or understand the telephone conversations or the Electoral Board staff were not clear in their explanation; can result in finger pointing forever. We may also consider that phone calls were made by another party with less than honest motivation as we have experienced other troubling illegal activity during election day at the Government Center by gadabouts. If, in fact the Electoral Board staff was unclear, I am confident that the Board, with their attention to detail will take whatever action they deem necessary to ensure that clear messages are delivered to the three thousand or so election officers.
The statements following each of the situations should be corrected:
a. I had received information that Republican election officers were being advised by a phone call reportedly from the County Electoral Board that "the position of Assistant Chief Election Official was not being filled this fall due to budgetary limitations." I have been advised that this is not the case and the Assistant Chief Election Officer position would be filled for the November Presidential election.
b. I also originally stated that "federal Law requires that all Election officials be trained at least once during the presidential election year. Experienced election officials…again, the reason-budgetary limitations." In fact, only Virginia statute requires such training once every four years, but not before 2014. Fairfax County's Electoral Board chose to implement that state requirement two years early, during 2012 and had originally planned some training in the spring of 2012. Spring training for experienced officers was canceled before the June primary due to budget limitations: ahem. All elections officials will be trained/re-trained prior to the November Presidential election.
I regret any confusion that may have been created by my statements.
The Electoral Board has had a challenging year. First, Federal law (an unfunded mandate) to provide voting instructions in Spanish impacted the Electoral Board budget. At least 40 percent of Reston voters do not agree with that requirement. Is Korean or Vietnamese also to be included? Secondly, the State Law specifying voter ID procedures (effective 1 July 2012) will require significant changes to election officers directions, training, and posting materials at the 240 precincts for the forthcoming presidential election. The point that is being missed is that we should not be skimping on funds allocated to the Electoral Board: that they have sufficient resources to ensure that elections are properly carried out by well-trained election officials. If the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors can spend $40M on assisted housing, surely they can come up with the needed funds. We taxpayers should question their priorities.
The Tysons situation is a particularly odious example. Traditionally, when a developer(s) wants to develop a property, they are required to "proffer" funds to build the required supporting public infrastructure; e.g., fire stations, public safety facilities, schools, roads and transportation facilities, etc. In this case, access roads, trails, and walkways, traffic signals, etc. costing somewhere between $1.6 B to $2.5B or so need to be funded. In working out the development plans for Tysons Corner, the county staff specified a number of "workforce" (notice how that word has slipped into the equation - it used to mean our county teachers, firemen and police officers - that has been debunked by studies long ago) assisted housing units be included. It can be argued that Fairfax County can get a whopping $1.6B+ worth of assisted housing units in exchange for the public infrastructure proffers. Who then pays for the roads, schools, and fire stations? Just who made this about face decision on the use of proffers?
Never mind that Tysons planning currently has 17.5 M sq ft of vacant office space that is expected to take to the year 2035 to fill up. For further information on the performance of the Board of Supervisors through the post-WWII years managing proffers, read "The Fight for Fairfax: A Struggle for a Great American County" available at Amazon.com.
Recall when the Silver Line was first proposed with a $1.8B cost figure? We are now at $5B+. Is it any wonder that the financing for Phase II is running into problems? What are the hidden, forgotten or ignored infrastructure costs for Phase II: another billion or so? Perhaps Loudoun taxpayers are not as gullible as Fairfax taxpayers?